Case Studies

Herschman Architects: 38 Years of Design Excellence

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At Herschman Architects in Cleveland, Ohio, the sense of family between managing partners Mike Crislip and Carole Sanderson and their employees is so strong that the full-service firm has resisted decisions negatively impacting employees in spite of the economic downturn.

“We did everything during this recession that was the best for the employees, but maybe not the best for the business,” confirms Sanderson, CFO of Herschman Architects. “We retained as many employees as possible and haven’t cut any employee benefits. Our firm has risen to be one of the largest in Cleveland because of our stability.”

Herschman Architects has a long and storied career in the architectural industry. Namesake Jerry Herschman, a nationally recognized leader in the retail industry, founded the company in 1974. Sanderson and Crislip continue to follow the values he put into place to grow the firm organically and through acquisitions, earning it awards including Inc. Magazine’s Fastest Growing Private Companies in America and Inside Business Magazine’s Region’s Top Performing Private Company as recently as 2009.

Projects Completed on Time and on Budget

The company is currently licensed in all of the 48 contiguous states, and has successfully completed projects in all 50 states in addition to Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada. “We held on during this recession because we’re well known for our expertise in retail and shopping center design and the processes needed to get projects completed on time and on budget,” reveals Sanderson.

Herschman Architects expanded its physical presence since the company’s founding. The company opened a branch office in Tucson, Ariz., in 2005 and Sanderson is excited to recount the details on Herschman Architects’ most recent expansion. “Just this year we opened an office in Los Angeles,” she says. “We have clients on the West Coast and we are looking forward to working with them on a number of projects in the future.”

The company recently garnered a significant amount of press for its outstanding design of the new team store for the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena in downtown Cleveland. The multimillion-dollar renovation doubled the store’s size to 5,700 square feet with the addition of a second-level mezzanine, making it one of the largest team merchandise outlets in the NBA.

Jeff Cohen, vice chairman of the Cavaliers, was quoted as saying, “Throughout the design process our goal was to create an experience that would be unparalleled in professional sports; to raise the bar and set a new benchmark by which others can use to measure their own success. Until now state-of-the-art, point-of-sale technology and merchandising has only been seen in high-end regional malls and retail stores, and we are thrilled to be able to bring this type of first-class product and experience to our fans.”

Award-winning Design

Key features of the redesign includes the construction of a two-story glass pop-out storefront that creates a dramatic sidewalk entrance and a 24-foot sliding glass storefront entrance off the main concourse. This emphasizes the arena and allows event-goers visual access and convenient ingress and egress into the team shop. The redesign also created two new direct access points to the team shop for suite holders. Additionally the level five concourses expanded the stores ingress and egress points even further from its previous single access point from the main concourse.

Herschman Architects’ designs also incorporated ample use of tall glass panels, large display windows, a metallic bronze stained concrete recreation of a basketball court for the floor and stainless steel railings throughout.

“The Q [as the arena is referred to by local residents] project was an excellent one for our firm,” says Fred Margulies, director of retail architecture at Herschman Architects. “We employed a large team on that project and it won an international award for design.”

In a competitive economy, when dollars are flowing freely, benefits like 100-percent-paid health insurance and employer-funded retirement plans are standard. However, when things tighten up the perks often disappear along with the business. The contrast of how things operate at Herschman Architects makes it easy to see why the architectural firm won the award for Best Place To Work in northeast Ohio six times. Even when times are tough Herschman Architects continues to place valued employees above the bottom line.

Published on: March 9, 2013

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